Last night’s debate among the remaining six rivals for the Republican nomination for President in Greenville, South Carolina ahead of the Palmetto State’s primary next week was a true stunner. Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump managed to singlehandedly create a loud, vitriolic circus of charge, countercharge, ad hominem attacks, and raucous, impulsive shouting over other candidates. Such a level of verbal thuggery on a presidential debate stage is unprecedented, exceeding even Bernie Sanders’s and Hillary Clinton’s slugfest earlier in the week. It portends a very rough time ahead this year in the presidential sweepstakes.
Donald Trump is a true menace to the future of American constitutional republican democracy, and so must be decisively defeated by Republican primary voters across the nation in the coming weeks and months – and roundly rejected for any independent run for president he might make.
His persona is a dramatic archetypal example of megalomania, narcissism, and incipient despotism. The following list of indicia is doricly instructive:
• His bombastic rhetoric, blithely and endlessly assuring everyone from the podium that everything he plans to do will be “great” and “beautiful” and “successful” without bothering cite many specifics. Bald, soaring, grandiose rhetoric rules.
• His audacity to claim that he can change into anything he wants, and his positions, as evolving circumstances require. A true wild card, to be sure, evidenced by past support for hard-left Democrats and very unconservative policy positions.
• His claim that he can strike political and economic “deals” with anyone, whether domestic or international, through “consensus” achieved in a room by bullying and giving everyone “what they want.” Sounds like a strategy for white-collar thuggery.
• An elitist rejection of all other candidates, for being duplicitous politicians or lacking “strength”, etc. Carly Fiorina’s fixed facial scowl and Ben Carson’s soft-voice speaking style have come in for especial calumny.
• His inability to handle any reasoned challenge or criticism without resorting to vicious slander and impetuous defensiveness, turning a very contemptuous lip downward and gesticulating wildly. At least casual comparisons to the rantings of Mussolini and Hitler seem embarrassingly unavoidable.
• His innately authoritarian approach to solving problems (viz., illegal immigration) and studied reluctance to acknowledge Constitutional limitations on federal executive authority.
This all adds up to a truly frightening profile of a man who would attempt to rule with an iron fist, convinced ab initio of his infallibility and dismissive of anyone’s contrary opinions and concerns. When asked how he would deal with differing viewpoints, he resorted to stating that he would hire “the top experts” in their field to give him advice and there would be no conflicts. Sure, Donald; certainly not with those who value huge, continuing paychecks over honesty, integrity, and fealty to Constitutional principles. Infamous Obamacare economic designer Jonathan Gruber comes to mind; or, in an earlier era, economist John Maynard Keynes. Rule by technocrats, indeed — a paradigm created by Soviet “economic planners” in the 1930s and enhanced with foreign slave labor by Nazi armaments minister Albert Speer in the 1940s.
I pray that Republican voters in the upcoming primaries are discerning enough to see that Donald Trump is an enfant terrible – a mad-child populist demagogue in the mold of French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre, who could well do irreparable damage to America in every arena due to his relentless egotism and hard-driving for personal aggrandizement. These infirmities are unlikely to be at all reparable, ameliorable, or even “bluntable” through the usual political processes once Trump becomes our Potentate in Chief. His mania would only be stoked, with ever more over-the-top and draconian counteractions likely. We would all be wise to come together now with this awareness to thump him at the primary and caucus polls, thereby dumping his candidacy for the Republican nomination, and quarantine him through public shame and humiliation should be decide to run any independent campaign.
On the Democratic side, all of the presidential candidates, including potential dark-horse contender ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, exhibit some, if not many or most, of the same core personality traits as The Donald. If our best America is to survive and thrive once again as a free and open civil society, all of these candidates must be rejected for their authoritarian, statist mindsets and agendas, and deceitful rhetoric. As Sinclair Lewis opined in his 1935 political novel It Can’t Happen Here about fascism coming to America domestically, it most certainly can.
The Rational Empiricist